Providence Park - Thorns

(KPTV/Nick Krupke image)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - The National Women's Soccer League announced Wednesday that the championship game has been moved from Portland to Louisville.

NWSL says the move was at the request of the NWSL Players Association.

"We realize the impact this has on the fans who have bought tickets and made travel arrangements. We hope that our fans will understand that this move is made with the support of the NWSL, the Players Association, the Portland Thorns, and Racing Louisville," the NWSL said in a statement.

The Thorns released their own statement Wednesday, saying they "support the NSWL Players Association and their decision to move the NWSL Championship game from Portland to Louisville. We were the only NWSL club that submitted an initial bid to host the game despite the early 9 a.m. kickoff time, which was less than ideal for our fans and players. We are happy there is a resolution that works for all parties."

Kickoff for the game has been set for 12 p.m. Eastern Time in Louisville on Saturday, Nov. 20. The Thorns say more information will be released soon for those fans who have already purchased tickets.

The move comes nearly two weeks after The Athletic published an investigation accusing former Thorns coach Paul Riley of sexual coercion, harassment and misconduct with players, much of which happened while he was coaching the Thorns in 2014 and 2015. Former Thorns players Sinead Farrelly and Meleana Shim both said they felt pressured by Riley to engage in inappropriate behavior or risk losing their careers. Farrelly said Riley coerced her into having sex with him on more than one occasion, and both former players said he convinced the two to kiss each other in his apartment after a long night of drinking.

The investigation also brought to light that the Thorns fired Riley in 2015 because of Shim’s allegations, but they never said publicly why his contract wasn’t renewed. He was hired by another National Women’s Soccer League team a few months later, and until two weeks ago, Riley was still head coach of the North Carolina Courage.

Thorns and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson said the organization has hired a former federal prosecutor to investigate the 2015 Riley investigation. The Thorns removed General Manager Gavin Wilkinson from duties pending the results of the outside investigation.

On Wednesday, NWSL said they have been working to come to an agreement with the players association on several of the demands set forth last week. The league and players association have agreed to a five-day extension to finalize details and logistics and keep this progress moving forward.

A bombshell investigation by The Athletic accusing former Portland Thorns FC head coach Paul Riley of sexual coercion and misconduct with players has ignited a firestorm in the National Women's Soccer League.

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